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Warri Channel dredging contract followed due process–NPA

Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has declared that it followed due process as
guided by the Public Procurement Act in the award of a $44.861 USD (N16.150
billion) Warri Channel dredging contract to
Dredging International
Services Nigeria (DISN) Limited
, a
subsidiary of
International Services (Cyprus) Limited

That was
the NPA’s position against the allegation that it awarded the dredging contract
to a company that had been convicted by a court in Switzerland.
It would
be recalled that
Dredging International Services (Cyprus) Ltd., was convicted by a Swiss
Court for bribing ex- officials of the NPA, to facilitate some contract
Briefing newsmen in Lagos at the weekend on
the development, Managing Director of the NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, said that
during the bid process, the NPA sent all relevant documents to the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to clarify a petition it received against
the company before proceeding.

She said: “in the course of
the procurement process, we had a petition submitted to us that a company that
had prequalified had been convicted. Being mindful of the fact we are aware of
the conviction, in fact, when the company was convicted, that happens to be a partner
in our JV, we submitted the conviction document to the EFCC, and also to the
Attorney-General of the Federation, drawing his attention to the fact that the
company had been convicted and these are the issues of the conviction and the
persons that monies were paid to.

“Just to talk about the conviction, it is attributable to a payment
that was made to certain individuals within the NPA and the Federal Ministry of
Transportation and other agencies, to facilitate payment of invoices from NPA.

“The information they provided from the Swiss Court is that Nigerian
Ports refused to pay them their JV invoices, demanding for payment, and they
had to make payments to certain people.

“They also listed that because they operate in Bonny they were asked
to pay for security to enable them access to their dredging work. And they
listed the people that they paid the money. 
With that, the Swiss Court now sanction them and convicted them for
making payments outside of the JV.

“Upon receipt of that conviction document, I forwarded it to the EFCC
with all the attendant attachment, listing the beneficiaries of those payments asking
them to investigate further. The company had submitted to us a sworn Notary
affidavit that they were not the company that was convicted.

“We proceeded with our tender process and submitted the letter to the
Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), and the BPP directed us to do an
independent investigation of the affidavit again, which we did through a law

The MD, however, stated that the allegation of
corruption in the contract award came from a company whose dredging contract
the NPA had terminated due to incompetence and lack of transparency.

She said: “If you recall, we
terminated the Calabar dredging, we terminated the joint venture. The company
had made claims of payment of $21 million USD form work that they did not do.
We could not verify, so we terminated the contract. We called them and asked
that they paid back FG’s $12 million USD that was paid to them. Also, the
company was engaged through a process that was not in compliance with the
public procurement act.

“In fact, there was a letter from the DG BPP, where he wrote that this
company’s appointment was in gross violation of the public procurement act. The
president was advised he should never have signed up the JV with this company
that is now petitioning us.

“On the one hand, I am very mindful and ensure that we are in
compliance with public procurement processes; everything we did we submitted to
BPP, BPP so guided us and provided us with everything.”
But legal counsel for Dredging Atlantic Limited(DAL), Mr. Liboros Oshoma, had claimed in
some media reports that the Calabar dredging job that the NPA referred to was
awarded to Niger Global by NPA on a PPP arrangement, and not DAL or its

He was quoted as saying that “Neither Dredging
Atlantic Limited nor our technical partners, West Minister Dredging were part
of the Calabar dredging bidding process.”

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